“Draw The Circle Wide”

Draw the circle,

draw the circle wide.

Draw the circle, draw the circle wide.

No one stands alone,

we’ll stand side by side.

Draw the circle,

draw the circle wide.

 

Draw the circle wide,

draw it wider still.

Let this be our song:

no one stands alone.

Standing side by side,

draw the circle,

draw the circle wide.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This song by Mark Miller illustrates what I focused on from John 10:16, “I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.”

Here is the ending to my sermon from yesterday:

Might that song be talking about this flock? Might we be led by the good shepherd to make room in our flock, to let God work through us in ways unimaginable, so that those around us can be in God’s flock. Might we draw our circle a bit wider by love and grace and mercy, so that it includes a few more? Might our circles be drawn wider to include our neighbors here in this city, in this area? Might our flock include those we wouldn’t think to invite, even the worst sinner, us too.

What might our flock look like? God’s community is open and inclusive. Jesus didn’t exclude people based on the standards of his day, he ate and fellowshipped with the worst of them; what’s even more important, he loved and showed grace and mercy to all.

I want to be clear that while I think Jesus is calling for us all to be in one flock, I don’t think that means we all need to be the exact same. There is such diversity within every community, and Christians are no exception. Our job is not to make everyone like us, what a fretful and boring world that would be. 

In fact, I think this passage from John makes it pretty clear that the work of gathering the flock belongs to God, not us. Our role might be to provide a space where all are welcome.

In this space that is open and welcome to all, we all share from the same table. We bring all of ourselves, warts and all, to the table. We expect those around us to bring their warts and all, all of themselves to the table of God as well. And at this table, we share in the grace and mercy made available to us all through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate this Easter season.

My prayer and challenge for us all is that we would know the good shepherd. I hope that in knowing the good shepherd and seeing his model for us, we would draw our circles a little wider. I hope that in being part of God’s flock, we would allow God to work in and through us so that others might know the same grace and mercy you and I receive.

Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still. Let this be our song: no one stands alone. Standing side by side, draw the circle, draw the circle wide.

Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s